Do I ever live for the weekend? Nah, it’s just another day when I have to get up around 4 AM anyway so it doesn’t make much of a difference for me. After this weekend though, who knows what time I’ll get up in the morning. That melancholy mood is setting in but I won’t bore anyone with the details of my life. It’s another Roll Out here and I’ve gotten back to my roots. Everyone thinks I’m one singular item. I’m much more than that. Regardless…
So here’s something new, I came across Brooklyn’s The Black Black. No, not The Black but The Black Black. According to sources (the band itself), they “started working on new songs at the beginning of 2017 following the implosion of the previous lineup of the band in 2016” but the band has existed in one form or another since 2012 releasing numerous songs and singles. The band just dropped its new self-released album entitled Gravity & Time, and much can be culled from the name there alone. Never one to succumb to the looking deeply into the meaning of life itself, no plan was made to dig any deeper there, instead, taking the album for everything it’s worth on its own.
The quartet has an energetic romp that’s pretty addictive, as the heavy bass & keyboard groove give way to staticky guitar sputters that are relentless on the opening “We Know You’re Just Pretending.” The Black Black’s darkness may come across like an English post-punk outfit but its goth-like presence lingers throughout. There are no mincing words on “Ego Inflator” when singer Jonathan Daily belts “I just wanna make love to you” over a cacophonic wall of sound that has an unrelenting groove, never relinquishing or avoiding the glorious repetition without being repetitive. It almost makes me want to drop my pants for him. But the band is quick to bludgeon listeners slowly with “Midnight Expectations,” as the rhythm section kills you softly before those haunting keys roll in. The band circles around the track with a semblance of glam-like fervor as they lazily molest listeners here. But it’s the speedy “Another Man” that catches my heavy interest with frenetic guitars, and again, those keys trickling in. The name of the band precedes itself throughout Gravity & Time as the musical imagery given here sometimes bears a resemblance, or gives a nod rather, to 80’s new wave aesthetic much like on “Waste Them All” and “Kingdom For The Passerby.” It’s healthily darker though but you won’t find any pseudo-idolatry to those that came before them. It’s simply fascinating. The Black Black’s latest album is exactly what you want it to be, without pretense, full of unrestrained energy with a fuck-you-I’m-going-to-do-me attitude. That’s all you ever need.
Where should I begin and how should I start this without utilizing expletive after glorious expletive? I probably just can’t help myself. Probably? Or is it “possible”? Well, it’s simply definitive. I’m digressing from my point here, which is focusing on Heartthrob Chassis. I rarely give credence to any press clippings or releases but scanning through it I came across familiar words in “Demolition Doll Rods.” Vocalist/songwriter Margaret Dollrod heads up this new project so yes, my interest was piqued. Like many of the dirty inner-city blues players of her time and following the wave the Demolition Doll Rods rode in on, Heartthrob Chassis combines dual guitars and drums. No bass needed here. Alongside her on guitar is Ben Van Camp and rounding things out on drums is Kate Gowman, But these aren’t the Doll Rods or any other outfit that came before, it’s Heartthrob Chassis.
The new album, Arrhythmia (Milan Records), is a non-stop romp through an all but forgotten genre that’s slowly making a resurgence into the limelight it so deservingly needs to be in. Why? Because when it’s done right, it’s just pretty fucking badass. There’s a lot of high-end played with the dueling guitars without need of that bottom end. I mean really, here? It just isn’t needed. On the opening “Check You Out Good,” the quick and speedy hands both guitarists find alongside Gowman’s controlled pummeling fills every nook and cranny within the track itself, making the inclusion of a bassline utterly useless. Hell yes! It’s completely distorted, drenched within a noisy backdrop with haphazard guitar solos that fit in perfectly. “Good Time Callin’” is wrapped within standard blues interplay but it’s Margaret’s howl that’s leading this one with echoing vocal effects and takes things back to the days when all you needed was a good songwriting and an energetic performance to get the crowd moving. It would assuredly have everyone moving in the crowd. The band is unrelenting from beginning to end here. “When I’m With You” plays with effects over a hypnotic melody, as does “Oh Wah Oh Wah,” but it’s their raunchy single “Sister” that allows you to become part of the sludge they’re pushing. Dual femme vocals captivate with that repetitive beat without being repetitious though. You won’t even notice it clocks in at almost 8-minutes long! I can’t help myself here, completely enthralled with what they’ve pieced together here and when “Red Bird Blue” comes on, yeah, that shit just makes me happy. Arrhythmia is the first album to come from Heartthrob Chassis and I’m hoping to get a couple more out of them. Again, hell yes.
About the record, Heartthrob Chassis says: “Arrhythmia is a condition in which the heart beats with an abnormal rhythm. This album is a salute and humble bow of gratitude to any and all who have given or shared that pleasure.”